When I was a kid, I remember being super excited about the ‘The Grinch’ movie that Ron Howard made with Jim Carrey. It was everyone’s favorite comedian playing a beloved grinch of a character. And when I watched it I enjoyed it. However, after viewing it as an adult, I realize that it was pretty weak and so much of it was just filling time. It also was a bit creepy for little kids and lacked real Christmas spirit.
Fast forward a few decades, and we are getting a new ‘Grinch’ movie, but this time it’s animated and the Star is Benedict Cumberbatch. Again, the role is a perfect match and the movie is not so perfect. Although, I would argue that this one is quite a bit better than the last one. It’s not creepy or particularly weird like it’s predecessor. It displays the Christmas spirit pretty soundly. And it’s mostly got a kind heart beating 3 times to small for most of the picture.
The issue with the movie is a similar one to one of the last films many problems. The movie is trying to take a 30 minute short story and stretch it to an hour and a half. Which means there is inevitably quite a bit of filler. As soon as the grinch decides he is going to steal Christmas we get a series of tasks that range from tedious to cleverly entertaining and sometimes in the same scene. None of it is bad, but it certainly feels unnecessary filler to an existing story.
Still, despite that noticeable issue, this movie is filled with a big heart and some genuine Christmas spirit. There are a lot of clever sight gags in the sections with Cindy Lou and there are some surprisingly heartfelt scenes with the grinch that are properly built up over the film. Even the unnecessary scenes have pieces that build to something more. Which is what puts this film a step above its predecessors.
So, even though many will argue that we didn’t need another movie about the grinch, this movie feels necessary to a new generation. More importantly though, it is probably the best film adaptation of the story yet and something that kids can enjoy until Thanksgiving when Wreck ‘it’ Ralph delivers one of the best animated films in years, but that’s another review. For now, enjoy ‘The Grinch’ families.
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